By Cowgirl Candace | Originally published for the AJC
Georgia nurtured its Peach State status nearly 450 years ago.
Introduced at the coastline then moved toward the fall line, Georgia peaches have continued to deliver in sugary, ripe-and-ready deliciousness to this day.
Now let’s stay clear: Georgia doesn’t produce the most peaches in the South. South Carolina officially does, according to an agricultural overview report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Georgia produced around 25,000 tons; South Carolina more than doubled that with 54,000 tons during 2018. Nevertheless, the Peach State offers its residents and visitors some of the most unmatched peach varieties and outdoor experiences.
The following farms allow you to taste test and take home this flavorful fuzziness all summer long:
Located in South Georgia, this Tifton-based fruit farm produces organically grown berries and peaches. Rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, Berry Good’s peaches automatically give guests their five-a-day nutrients. The farms peaches are ready to reap up until August. A kid favorite: the farms peach ice cream.
930 William Gibbs Road, Tifton, Georgia, 31793 | Farm Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily | 229-821-0746
This peach-picking site is family owned and operated in the North Georgia Mountains. The Ellijay, Georgia, farm includes 120 acres for visitors to roam and up to 80 varieties of peaches, apples, melons and veggies. In addition to its homegrown peaches, the orchards offers tempting toppings like peachy barbecue sauce, peach jam/preserves, peach syrup, peach salsa and peachy peach vinaigrette salad dressing.
9131 Highway 52 East, Ellijay, Georgia, 30536 | Orchards Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily | Market, Bakery Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday: 1 to 6 p.m.
The plethora of peaches farm is located south of Atlanta in Crawford County. Known as Georgia’s oldest, continuously operating peach packinghouse, Dickey Farms includes more than 100,000 peach trees spanning more than 1,000 acres. From June to mid-August, the farm sells 20-plus varieties of peaches — from Messina, Majestic and Red Globe to Sunprince, Summerlady and Flameprince. Have the peaches shipped to your door, or if you’re on site, indulge in the farm’s other peach creations, which include peach jelly beans, peach cider, pickled peaches, old-fashioned peach preserves, old-fashioned peach butter, peach salt water taffy and peachy barbecue sauce.
3440 Musella Road, Musella, Georgia, 31066 | Farm Hours: Monday-Sunday: 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. | 478-836-4362
Peaches abound at this Middle Georgia destination. With roughly 2,500 trees, Green Acres’ peaches are one of its No. 1 selling products. Currently, it produces harvester peaches that are ready for picking or pre-picking. Mid-June to the end of July are the best times to pluck peaches at this Georgia farm. It also offers some of the tastiest peach ice cream in the area.
952 Empire Chester Highway, Cochran, Georgia, 31014 | Farm Hours: Tuesday-Friday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday: 1 to 5 p.m. | 478-230-4124
Hand-pick peaches from this North Georgia Mountains venue promise a mouthwatering satisfaction. For more than 100 years, Jaemor has cultivated 150 acres of mature peach trees. The farm produces ripe, homegrown peaches from June to mid-September. Its golden undertone or creamy yellow ones are the best to bite into. The farm also takes the peach from its natural form to create its popular pudding, tea and cobbler recipes, which you can find here.
5340 Cornelia Highway, Alto, Georgia, 30510 | Alto Market Hours: Monday-Saturday: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday: 1 to 6 p.m. | 770-869-3999
Based in Peach County’s Fort Valley, Lane has harvested both peaches and pecans for more than 100 years. Its peach orchards and pecan groves stretch 6,000 acres. The orchards produce more than 35 peach varieties, which are for picking mid-May through August. A popular spot to sink your teeth into one of its sweet peaches is on Lane’s rocking chair porch. Inside the orchards’ roadside market and café are even more fresh peaches and goodies such as Georgia Sweet Peach Wine, frozen peach cobblers, homemade peach breads, peach fritters and peach jams.
50 Lane Road, Fort Valley, Georgia, 31030 | Orchards, Market Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily | 800-277-3224
This 330-acre working farm is family owned and is located just south of Atlanta in McDonough. Visitors can either hand-pick o pre-pick peaches from the farm throughout the summer season. Its peach orchard produces up to 10 varieties that ripen in early June and last through most of the summer. In addition to its large selection of local peaches, Southern Belle’s Country Market offers peachy treats, including jam, cobbler and shortcake.
1658 Turner Church Road, McDonough, Georgia, 30252 | Picking Hours: Monday-Saturday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday: 1 to 6 p.m. | 770-288-2582